Pan-Grilled Tilapia with Garlic Rainbow Chard

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I love greens! Spinach, kale, collard, mustard…but I had never tried chard before! So, I was super excited when a colleague brought in a couple of bags of “excess” produce that she had from her membership in the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). My “loot bag” included a large earthy turnip, a big bag of peppery arugula and a beautiful bunch of sweet rainbow chard! I must say, there is something about the rainbow chard…its deep green leaves with colorful veins and stems in purple, orange and green is definitely a thing of beauty!

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Driving home, I made a mental note of how I was going to use up all that beautiful, fresh produce! I decided on South Indian style mixed vegetable and lentil stew (sambar) with the turnip, thin crust pizza (I used a prebaked crust made of whole wheat and kamut flours) with pesto, mushrooms and arugula and…tilapia with rainbow chard sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil with a healthy doze of minced garlic!

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This tilapia/rainbow chard dinner is a snap to prepare. It requires very few ingredients and takes about the same time as watching a pot of water come to boil and cooking a box of pasta! Instead of a bowl of plain, cooked pasta in less than 20 minutes, you get a beautifully plated! I sort of missed the summer BBQ flavors and opted to go with that for this dish! The chard is super simple to make – just garlic, pinch of salt and bit of olive oil! I think the green is so delicate that anything beyond this simple combo might just overpower its natural flavor and taste!

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Isn’t everyone talking about the health benefits of eating fish! So, go for it! Grab yourself a few filets and whip up this dinner in a snap!

Pan-Grilled Tilapia with Garlic Rainbow Chard

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
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Ingredients
4 Tilapia filets, skin removed
1 tablespoon BBQ seasoning or other seasoning of your choice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch of rainbow chard, chopped up
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt

Preparation
1. Lay the tilapia filets on a large plate and coat both sides with the BBQ seasoning.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
3. Place the fish in the hot skillet and “grill” for 4-5 minutes on each side. The fish is done when you can flake it easily with a fork.
4. Wipe down the pan and return to heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the rainbow chard and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
5. Serve the fish immediately over a serving of sautéed chard for a simple, healthy and delicious meal!

Easy Basil Fried Rice

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I love food! I guess that’s quite obvious by now! But seriously, I do enjoy a variety of cuisine – sambols and rotis from my homeland, Sri Lanka, pasta dishes characteristic of Italy, slow rendered duck breast and macarons from France, tacos and fajitas from south of the border, curries and rice dishes from India, Pakistan, China, Thailand….And the list goes on!

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Each cuisine is unique and unparalleled with incredible flavor combinations, textures, colors and taste! I have a bit of a special fondness for Thai dishes – perhaps it’s the coconut milk and ample use of green chili. So, I had this craving for a yummy Thai fried rice, but without having to go for takeout.

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I was pretty sure I had the basic ingredients handy – basil, fish sauce, palm sugar, rice, eggs and a medley of vegetables. A quick look through the refrigerator and pantry confirmed my hunch! So, after perusing through a few recipes for inspiration, I decided to use my own pseudo blend of Thai seasonings! I figured even it didn’t taste Thai at all, it will still be pretty darn good. And good it was! In fact, it was probably better than good. My family loved it and both my kids (one who hates fish sauce and the other who has a pretty discerning taste for fried rice) actually verbally acknowledged that the rice was good. That, in my books, is a pretty big win!

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This rice is especially good, made with a day old rice kept in the refrigerator. If you are like me and have a freshly cooked batch, just spread 2 cups of the cooked rice on a plate and chill till you prepare the ingredients. It worked fine. I think day-old rice just helps to keep the kernels separate – like in restaurants.

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Easy Basil Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min
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Ingredients
2 cups cooked rice, preferably a day old kept overnight in the refrigerator
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice (I used carrots, onions, savoy cabbage and celery)
2 eggs
1/4 cup roughly chopped basil leaves

Seasoning:
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup (I used tomato sauce)
1 tablespoon sugar (I used palm sugar)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Sprinkling of crushed red peppers, optional

Preparation
1. In a small bowl, combine all the seasoning ingredients. Set aside.
2. Heat a large saute pan or wok over high heat. Add the oil and saute the vegetables for 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the rice and seasoning mix. Toss to mix thoroughly. Spread the rice and vegetables across the pan to allow them “fry” a bit more” – another 3 minutes or so.
4. Push the rice and vegetables to the edge of the pan, creating a well in the center for the eggs.
5. Lightly beat the eggs and pour in the center of the pan. Let set and scramble. Mix the egg with the rice and vegetables.
6. Remove from heat and serve with meat or vegetable stir fry and/or an Asian cucumber salad.

Asian inspired noodles with vegetables and soy glazed salmon

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Don’t you wish you could have a list of recipes that you can whip up in a few minutes, use only a pot or two and require only a bit of time in the kitchen?? All of us lead super busy lives and we go about the daily motions wishing there will be more hours in the day. And then comes meal time! You want to feed your family something wholesome, but at the end of the day, just the thought of making something well balanced seems arduous! But what if you could make something in just about half hour and feel good knowing you are feeding the family a delicious and nutritious meal!

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This dish is one of those accidental happenings in the kitchen tonight! Inspiration for this dish comes from a delicious serving of pho noodle soup I had last week. I loved the delicately seasoned simple but delectable broth, crunchiness of the fresh veggies and the soft, chewiness of rice noodles. So, I thought of making something similar with the ingredients I had in the kitchen – glass noodles, fennel bulb, savoy cabbage, green beans, salmon and cilantro. Once you clean and slice the vegetables, it is a snap to put this dish together.

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To have a good flow….I will recommend starting with a pot of water to boil the noodles. Next, you should marinate the salmon in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger and garlic. While the fish is marinating, clean, wash and slice the vegetables. Now, you can add the noodles to the water, heat a pan to saute the fish and distribute the vegetables in four serving bowls. Then, you will be left with just heating the broth with a few seasonings and pouring it over the vegetables and noodles and topping off with a piece of salmon. Yum!

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Asian inspired noodles with vegetables and soy glazed salmon

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30-40 minutes
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Ingredients
1 lb skinless salmon
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/6 package of sweet potato glass noodles
1 1/2 cups of thinly sliced savoy cabbage
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 cup of thinly sliced fresh green beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 can of reduced salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon reduced salt soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark, toasted sesame oil
Juice from half a lime
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil (if you have fresh basil, that will be better!)

Preparation
1. Begin by marinating the salmon in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
2. Place a pot of water to boil; Cook noodles according to instructions.
3. Drain the noodles and keep aside and return the pot back to stove top.
4. Empty the can of broth into the pan and bring to a boil with a teaspoon of soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and basil.
5. Clean and prepare all the vegetable as listed above.
6. Distribute the veggies among 4 serving bowls. Top with cooked noodles.
7. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook salmon until done.
8. Add hot broth to the vegetables and top with salmon. Sprinkle additional cilantro if desired and top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and crushed red peppers, if desired.